I've been looking back on my adventure in Hollywood, culling pages from my journal...
So, as it turns out, my big reason for joining the WGA Activities committee, to get a workshop going, was misdirected at best. I was on the wrong committee. Another committee, the Programs committee, would do something like that.
An epic post for an epic sketch...
Abbott & Othello
I wrote about my Pet Rock sketch earlier. I used that sketch as my signature bit (despite the circumstances), I was very proud of it, it was a tight, silly, funny bit, solid evidence that I was a writer. But it was dead. I would eventually need to create another signature bit.
I honestly don’t remember when I got the idea for “Abbott & Othello” but it happened. I certainly had done a ton of pop-culture mash-ups before (and since). And, weirdly, Abbott & Costello were in the zeitgeist in the 1980s; SNL, SCTV and others did A&O inspired bits. I remember one a joke; Elvis Costello and the group ABBA were going on tour as ABBA & Costello. Maybe all of this triggered the idea.
We reach February 1992, and I had finished and sent off “Like Magic.” I’m surprised to read that I had serious doubts about it at the time. Now, I have fond memories of it (In fact, I’m supposed to be working on it). But I was also annoyed that my Hollywood connections (Kevin, Bill and Joel) didn’t want to see any of my scripts, they just wanted to consider stuff they pitched to me.
January 2, 1992, I began my first entry of the New Year. I marveled over the fact that a year previous I was waiting to hear from Warner, rushing to rewrite “GhostWriter,” getting in the WGA and knocking out pages of “Like Magic.” Even six months earlier I was awaiting word from Pee-Wee’s people about the script and working on “Where’s the Party.” What a turn of events, right? The following six months sucked. I made some vows; finish “Like Magic.” Type up “Dashing Dan.” Write “Holmes Sick.” Or die trying.
...or Skit Happens.
It’s more of a spring break skit, but since it features the beach, here it is, Us Guys at the Beach:
September ended with nothing going on, which bled into October. No word on anything. My new Atari PC was replaced, so that meant I had to get back to work on something.
Later, word was coming out of Hollywood that Paul Ruebens was already at work re-building his career, and leaving Pee-Wee at the wayside for the time being. So, hurray for him. ABC announced it was getting out of the late night business. Not my fault!
Look, I’m sorry “The Mummy” tanked…oh, who am I kidding, I’m not. I was angry about it since they announced it and the start of this whole Universal Monster “Dark Universe.” I’ve been mad about this stuff since “Van Helsing” came out. I grew up loving the monster movies of Universal Studios. From “Frankenstein” right up to “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein” (if you don’t know it’s one of the most solid Universal horror movies done in the Forties, I pity you), the movies were scary, funny, thrilling, and hokey. Sure, continuity is off, this was back before “franchises” existed and each movie kinda started from scratch, but they were fun and not calculated. Even the first time the idea of two monsters existing in the same universe occurred (“Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman”), it started off a joke idea that people grew to like.
But it was a train wreck, who’s only acknowledgment of previous Universal monster movies was the vague notion that werewolves can kill vampires, which was first implied at the conclusion of “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.”
Anyway, the film got me angry. So angry, I wrote the sequel to the last Universal monster movie they SHOULD HAVE done. I brought it into modern times, I managed to explain why we haven’t heard from the monster is decades, and I folded in every bit of folklore from the movies I could PLUS give it a sense of humor about itself. It was a tale of thrills, revenge and villainy. Naturally, as soon as I started showing it around, Universal started floating the idea of a “Dark Universe” to compete with Marvel movies or DC.
Sure, I tried to do a rewrite, and convert the monsters into the more public domain versions of themselves, but the same reaction was had. Apparently you can’t pitch a movie called “Island of Frankenstein” without triggering those connections. Oh, well. I’m very happy with it and I love the big finale. So, I park it here, on my website. Enjoy.
I have a new comedy bit posted over at The Big Jewel; Internet Ratings of Escape Rooms.
Freelance writer, still hacking away.